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Monday 23 April 2018

A good morning for Elton and his Aussie acolytes

John Meagher

John Meagher

elton john v pnau

Good Morning to the Night

(Mercury)

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It's been four years since Empire of the Sun's remarkably assured electro-pop debut, and the good news is a new album is in the pipeline.

In the meantime, one-half of that band, Nick Littlemore, has been busy with his original dance-pop outfit Pnau.

The Aussies first came to many people's attention in this part of the world some years ago when Elton John declared their debut album to be the best thing he had heard in 10 years.

Since then, the former Reg Dwight has collaborated with Pnau on a follow-up album which was released last year, and, here, they return the favour by taking eight of his songs from his early 1970s heyday and giving them a thoroughly contemporary makeover.

On the whole, the union between Elton's assiduously crafted originals and Pnau's slick brand of sunny electronica works a treat, especially when Littlemore and his partner Peter Mayes fuse samples of several songs into the same composition.

Telegraph to the Afterlife is especially affecting; a late-hours meditation replete with a suitably sparse production, it melds two Elton John compositions, Harmony and Love Song, in quietly spectacular fashion.

Littlemore and Mayes remain hugely respectful of their muse throughout the album with the sumptuous title track betraying the project's labour of love status.

That said, the pair can be a little too reverential, because in the moments when they truly push the boat out -- like they do on Karmatron -- they display an inventiveness that's quite something.

It's a pity, too, that the album features just eight tracks.

It's not like the duo had a shortage of material to work with; at the peak of his creativity, Elton John was releasing three albums a year. Beat that.

KEY TRACKS Telegraph to the Afterlife; Karmatron

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